The American Novel Since 1945: A Free Yale Course on Novels by Nabokov, Kerouac, Morrison, Pynchon & More 

Taught by professor Amy Hungerford, The American Novel Since 1945 offers an introduction to the fertile literary period that followed World War II. The course description reads:

In “The American Novel Since 1945” students will study a wide range of works from 1945 to the present. The course traces the formal and thematic developments of the novel in this period, focusing on the relationship between writers and readers, the conditions of publishing, innovations in the novel’s form, fiction’s engagement with history, and the changing place of literature in American culture. 

The reading list includes works by Richard Wright, Flannery O’Connor, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth and Edward P. Jones. The course concludes with a contemporary novel chosen by the students in the class.

You can watch the 26 lectures from the course  on YouTube and iTunes (video – audio). To get more information about the course, including the syllabus, visit the Yale website.

The main texts used in this course include:

  • Richard Wright, Black Boy (1945)
  • Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood (1949)
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)
  • Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)
  • J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey (1961)
  • John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse (1963-68)
  • Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1967)
  • Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1970)
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (1976)
  • Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (1980)
  • Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985)
  • Philip Roth, The Human Stain (2000)
  • Edward P. Jones, The Known World (2003)
  • Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated (2002)

The American Novel Since 1945 will be added to our collection, 1200 Free Online Courses from Top Universities. There you can find a specialized list of Free Online Literature Courses.


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